NEW NOISE REGULATIONS (VICTORIA)
may be aware, the new noise regulations came into force at the end of
January 2004. There are a few small changes, but really nothing huge.
As a guide, here is a (very concise) summary. The regulations include,
but are of course not limited to, the following items.
Still 85 dB averaged over 8 hours. The 140 dB peak has changed to 140
dB (C). This actually represents very little change, but now brings it
into line with the national standard.
Still every 5 years, with a new noise assessment if anything changes that
could affect the employees’ noise exposure. It is important that
the employee noise exposure is known, not just the noise levels in the
facility. This is done by the wearing of personal noise dose meters.
One change is that there is no longer a requirement for a full and formal
"written control plan". However, the details of any noise assessment
and any action detailed for same must be recorded. Written documentation
and records are still required, and recommended.
The requirements for reducing employee noise exposure by substituting
quieter plant / equipment, engineering controls, administrative controls,
and then by hearing protection are still in place ( in that order).
Still required where hearing protection devices are required to control
employees noise exposure, or if their daily noise exposure exceeds 85
dB over 8 hours or 140 dBC.
2 yearly is still the minimum requirement.
One major change is that previously a person could fail by either 15.7.a
(hearing loss worse than prescribed for their age category) or 15.7.b
(hearing shift at 3 / 4 / or 6 KHz by more than 10 dB since any previous
There is no longer a 15.7.a. As such, no one can actually "fail"
their 1st test, as there is noting to compare it to. Regulation 15.7.b
has now become Regulation 16.1, with the frequencies and dB shift the
same, but it is only compared to their last test, NOT any previous test.
Previously, where a person failed due to an (a) or (b) type hearing problem,
it was required that the employer recommend that the person undertake
a medical or audiological evaluation.
This has changed. Now, where a 16.1 type loss is detected, the employer
MUST PROVIDE an audiological assessment (a medical assessment is no longer
an option). This means that where a shift has occurred, the employee MUST
undertake an audiological assessment. Simply sending them to a doctor
is now no longer an option.
assessment must determine if the loss is noise related, and if so, the
control measures used to limit the employees noise exposure must be reviewed.
This can be done by assessing the employees daily noise exposure, (typically
using a noise dose meter). The results are then assessed to ensure that
the control measures in place are adequate, and appropriate action taken
to ensure no further shift should occur.
We can assist you in this area by providing on site audiological assessments
for your staff, the noise dosimetry service, and the post service assessment
and determination of appropriate action to ensure no further loss is expected.
One further change: the “summary letter” following testing
is no longer required to be sent to VWA / Worksafe within 30 days. They
do not want these letters any longer. The results must be kept on site.
The archiving or hearing test results (previously 20 years after they
leave your company) is no changed to "an appropriate" time.
We recommend keeping them for as long as your company operates, as this
is the most effective means of determining your actual liability - if
any - against any future claims from previous (or current) employees.
If in doubt, contact your insurer.
Remains the same. Required to consult with H&S reps, workgroup reps,
The requirement for training still exists. The stipulation regarding training
before commencing work in the noise hazard area, and then every 4 years,
has been removed. The requirement now states that the training must be
performed, with no time lines.
of this is fairly minimal, employees must still be trained in the required
areas, and that training should be documented and records of same maintained
by the employer.
The requirement for a VWA approval number has been removed. Whilst this
may seem that now “anyone can do it”, there is still a requirement
that the person doing the testing must have the knowledge and experience
to be able to perform the tests correctly, and in accordance with all
the relevant regulations and standards.
believe that the best way of objectively proving this level of competency
and knowledge is by the completion of a prescribed “Screening Audiometry”
would like information of these courses, let me know and I will forward
the information to you.
If you currently do your own screening audiometry, and use the “Workplace
Audiometry” software program, an update is available to make it
comply with the new regulations.
of the update ranges from nil upwards, depending on how long you have
had your software program, and what version it is.
contact me so that l can give you the exact details for your system. If
you are emailing, make sure you identify the software version. Click on
the “Help” then the “about Workplace audiometry”
button. The version number is there.
help fine tune the program for you, as well as help you install the update.
I have a number of form letters already made up to make it easier to bring
the program up to speed with the new regs. Let me know if you would like
a copy and I’ll email them to you.
now check to ensure that you have records of the following:
1) A noise
assessment has been done of any areas likely to exceed the exposure standard.
2) Screening hearing tests for all staff in those areas, or who are required
to wear hearing protection.
3) All staff who have had a shift of greater that 10 dB at 3, 4, or 6
KHz in either ear have had an audiological assessment.
4) Training has been provided to those in noise hazard areas, and those
required to wear hearing protection.
testing or hearing testing you (or our company) have performed already
that complied with the previous regulations, will comply with the new
offer all the services required to ensure your compliance, screening audiometry,
personal noise dose testing, noise assessments and reports, training,
right through to equipment (audiometers, sound proof booths etc) and software
– all “on site” for your convenience.
to contact me at any time so that I assist you in reviewing your current
level of compliance, and recommend any action required.
The information provided herein is of a general nature only, and is not
to be used or acted upon without the prior consultation and approval of
an appropriately experienced consultant specialising in this area.